High school tennis players make their own calls on the court.
I'm relatively new to high school tennis.
So, when I arrived at the Florida Tennis Center to watch Spruce Creek, Flagler Palm Coast and several other teams battle it out in the Five Star Conference Championship on March 22, I was completely baffled by the fact that high school players officiate their own matches.
During high school tournaments, like the conference championship, there is only one official — for the entire tournament. And the official doesn't even have that big of a role. If opposing players have a disagreement, the one official is there to help sort it out. But for the most part, judging whether a ball is in or out, and the like, is entirely left to the judgement of the players.
The obvious question is this: How in the world do these tournaments function without squabbles every match?
Sometimes, problems do occur, according to Spruce Creek girls coach Bailey Palmer.
In a way, it's impressive that this responsibility is left up to the players. It's a true test of character. There's a sense of honor in it, much like golf, where a player is almost always presented with the opportunity to call a penalty (or not call a penalty) on himself or herself.
But wouldn't it be more ideal to at least try to staff more officials? It may not be feasible to put officials at every match, but at least more than one?
I don't want to take integrity away from the sport, but sometimes, making the correct call isn't always about someone's character. People make honest mistakes, so wouldn't more eyes, more experienced eyes, help alleviate some of the frustration during a heated match?